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N13.5bn debt: AMCON to take over Babalakin’s properties

First Bank Nigeria
Dr Wale Babalakin
Dr Wale Babalakin

The Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria is set to take possession of properties belonging to the Chairman, Bi-Courtney Group of Companies, Dr. Wale Babalakin, over a N13.5bn debt.

But for “clerical errors,” one of the properties in Lagos would have been taken over on Friday.

A detachment of armed policemen and bailiffs of the Federal High Court, Lagos, had on Friday sealed off a high rise building on 43A, Afribank Street, Victoria Island, Lagos, which they erroneously thought was owned by the businessman and lawyer.

However, the Managing Director, AMCON, Mr. Mustafa Chike-Obi, told our correspondent on Sunday, that some clerical errors were  made in the court papers regarding the actual address of the building, adding that the corporation would approach the court on Tuesday to correct the errors.

This  led to the withdrawal of the AMCON officials and security operatives from the premises.

Friday’s action was in execution of interim orders granted by Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke against Roygate Properties Limited, believed to be owned by Babalakin.

The orders were sequel to an ex-parte application filed by AMCON in a suit marked FHC/L/CS/1501/2012.

Copies of the orders made on February 5 were reportedly pasted on the gates of the wrong building.

Justice Aneke had granted AMCON “interim possession of the  property at 43A Afribank Street,” pursuant to a tripartite legal mortgage registered on October 14, 2010 between Roygate (the borrower), Stabilini Visioni Limited (surety/mortgagor) and Guaranty Trust Bank (the lender).

The court also granted AMCON similar possession over properties at Plots 270 and 273, Trans Amadi Layout, Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

The court restrained Roygate, its directors, subsidiaries and sister companies from transferring or dealing with any of its funds in 20 banks listed in the application, or anywhere else up to the N13.5bn allegedly owed by the company.

It also restrained the banks from allowing Roygate “operate any bank accounts” held by it in the banks.

Justice Aneke also ordered the Nigeria Police Force to assist in enforcing the orders, and set February 19, 2013 as the return date.

AMCON had a few months ago got a similar order to take possession of some properties and assets owned by Tonique Oil Services Limited.

The corporation had executed the orders on Tonique Oil’s premises in Ikoyi and Gbagada, Lagos State, with the assistance of law enforcement agents, lawyers and court bailiffs.

Babalakin was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission at the Lagos High Court, Ikeja, Lagos on January 17, 2013, alongside Alex Okoh for alleged laundering of N4.7bn.

He was granted bail on self recognition and the case was adjourned to February 25, 2013.

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